A number of new General Assembly initiatives could change the way you and your children drive.
We'll tell you about them on News 7 at Six.
And an area television providor is having trouble paying its employees and now is in trouble with the state too.
In sports, UVA and Georgia Tech meet in men's college basketball, Bill Parcells leaves the Jets and
Dodge joins the race. Mike Stevens is on the NASCAR Media Tour and gives a look at the new race car.
Today's wind had an icy edge. We hope for a kinder and warmer wind tomorrow. Forecast details ahead.
Dozens of employees call it a bad signal from a local digital television provider.... they say they haven't seen a paycheck in four weeks.
Good evening, Jean Jadhon.
[GRAPHIC=News 7 at Six]
Air Cable provides digital cable to about one thousand customers in the Roanoke area.
While the company prides itself on the quality of its signals, employees say the company can't seem to master the basics of the payroll.
[DOUBLE BOXES=Jean and Jennifer/Newsroom;]
Jennifer Miele has been digging into this story and is on our Newsroom tonight.
Jean, Air Cable employs about 40 people in the Roanoke Valley.
Some employees say paychecks are bouncing and the company owes them thousands of dollars.
Air Cable acknowledges employees haven't been paid in the last month.
The company says it was just a clerical error, and employees will "most likely" receive their paychecks this Friday.
[***JENNIFER'S MIKE HOT***]
Air Cable operates in eight cities, including Roanoke, using wireless technology to provide digital quality programming.
The company set up shop in Roanoke back in May.
Despite complaints from employees, customers have yet to be affected by the payroll mishap.
The Better Business Bureau says its received dozens of phone calls from Air Cable employees who haven't been paid.
And yet another poor signal from the company -- as of December 31st, the company didn't pay its fees to the State Corporation Commision -- that means Air Cable is no longer legally
[DOUBLE BOXES=Jennifer and Jean/Newsroom;]
allowed to operate in Virginia, Jean.
(QUESTION: Jen, what does the company say about its customers? )
From what company representatives tell me, they expect a banner year.
They say customer service has not and will not be compromised because of payroll problems. These are just growing pains.
[DOUBLE BOXES=Jennifer and Jean/Newsroom;]
Guess we'll see on Friday when and if employees get paid.
130-workers are out of a job in Salem and Elliston. Rowe furniture announced the cut-backs Friday.
Company officials say the layoffs were a result of poor retails sales in the furniture industry.
[SUPER=03-Elliston/May 11, 1999]
Everything seemed fine for Rowe when it broke ground on the new plant in Elliston. In fact, work was completed there just four months ago.
But officials say the layoffs are indefinite.
A spokesman for Rowe, says the company was building hoping for a stronger economy.
Southside residents are asking what's next after the Governor announced plans to close the Southern Virginia Mental Institute.
Many want to know when will the facility officially close and how patients will get adequate care once that happens.
As Justin McLeod found out tonight, there are more questions than answers.
[IN Q=He was getting back to normal]
[SUPER=01-Jackie Carter/Family Member; :15]
[SUPER=01-Chris Morgan/Danville Regional Medical Center; :59]
[SUPER=01-Rev. Larry Hill/Runs Homeless Shelter; 1:19]
[OUT Q=Justin McLeod, News 7, Danville]
((((NAT SOUND OF JACKIE TALKING))
For years, Jackie Carter's brother has turned to the Southern Virginia Mental Institute to get back on his feet.
Now with the potential closing of the institute, she wonders where her brother will go for the care he needs.
[IN Q=Its scary.]
((JACKIE CARTER/FAMILY MEMBER: ITS SCARY, NOT ONLY FOR MY BROTHER. I JUST SEE SO MANY PEOPLE BEING DISPLACED AND GETTING THROUGH THE CRACKS.))
The state promises to take steps to make sure no one falls through the cracks.
The Governor's plan would keep Southern Virginia Mental Institute open until treatment like services are available in the community.
[IN Q=If this plan is adopted]
((JUSTIN McLEOD/REPORTING: IF THIS PLAN IS ADOPTED, THE STATE WOULD MOVE AWAY FROM PUBLICLY FUNDED CARE TO MORE COMMUNITY BASED CARE. THAT WOULD MEAN HOSPITALS LIKE DANVILLE REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER WOULD HAVE TO PROVIDE SERVICES FOR THE MENTALLY ILL...SERVICES THE HOSPITAL WONDERS IF IT CAN PROVIDE.))
[OUT Q=It can provide]
The hospital can only house up to 35 patients in its behavioral health department.
Currently, 30 Danville residents are seeking treatment at Southern Virginia Mental Institute.
[IN Q=So lets say we assume ]
((CHRIS MORGAN/DANVILLE REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: SO LETS SAY WE ASSUME 17 OR 18 OF THOSE 30 PATIENTS, THE OTHERS WOULD HAVE TO GO TO OTHER LOCATIONS, WOULD HAVE TO GO TO PETERSBURG AND ALSO STAUNTON.))
[OUT Q=And also stanton]
Some believe that will lead to hardship for those families and more importantly the patients.
And many fear those patients will end up on the streets.
[SOT :00:47:48 ]
[IN Q=There's a lot of them on the street now]
((REV. LARRY HILL/HOMELESS SHELTER: THERE'S A LOT OF THEM ON THE STREET NOW THAT'S NOT EVEN IN THE MENTAL HEALTH INSTITUTE. THIS IS GOING TO PUT A LOT MORE. THEY ARE NOT GOING TO GO OUT OF TOWN UNLESS THEY ARE FORCED.))
[OUT Q=unless they are forced]
Under the Governor's plan, the institute would be closed by 2002.
The General Assembly has finally say on the plan.
That's why Jackie Carter plans to take her message all the way to Richmond.
[IN Q=I'd say mercy]
((JACKIE CARTER/FAMILY MEMBER: I'D SAY MERCY. THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I'D SAY. I'D SAY MERCY.))
[OUT Q=I'd say mercy]
State lawmakers are hearing similar messages and the Republican leadership is already hinting the Governor's plan could be dead on arrival.
The General Assembly convenes tomorrow.
Justin McLeod, News 7, Danville.))
When state lawmakers rev up tomorrow at noon, they'll also be thinking about bills to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
Ellen Qualls has a wrap-up of new driving bills.
[IN Q=Here's a statistic]
[SUPER=01-Sen. Bill Mims/(R) Loudoun Co.; :37]
[OUT Q=Qualls, News 7, Richmond.]
(( Here's a statistic to call home about: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 400-thousand wrecks a year involve distracted drivers.
A survey by the same agency shows that 44 percent of drivers have cell phones in their cars.
A complete ban on phones in cars has died in the past in Richmond.
So this year, the proposal is to just ban their use when entering or exiting highways.
The cell phone industry says "don't pick on us," people eat, read, put on make-up, and daydream while driving too.
A spike in fatal accidents among teen drivers last year is a bigger problem, many lawmakers say.
((SEN. BILL MIMS/R-LOUDOUN CO.: THERE IS A WEALTH OF EVIDENCE THAT TEENAGERS' COGNITIVE ABILITIES BECOME GREATER THE OLDER THEY GET... IN LIGHT OF THAT EVIDENCE, SEVERAL STATES... VERY POSITIVE RESULTS.))
So changing the age for a license from 16 to 16 and a half is a very real legislative possibility this year.
And limiting the number of teen passengers.
Getting pulled for just NOT wearing a seatbelt has failed in a committee recently... but will return this session.
And how about this?
Sign up to donate an organ and get 50 cent discount on your drivers license.
You thought they were worth more?
See what your lawmakers think this year.
Ellen Qualls, News 7, Richmond.))
What's in at name?
One New River Valley businessman says a lot of money-- that's why he doesn't want the name of a street to change.
Details are next on News 7.
And find out how a steam engine and the man who photographed it could put the brakes on a proposed museum.
The prospect of a new museum devoted to the work of famed photographer O. Winston Link has excited rail buffs, and Roanoke leaders.
But Link himself says he's prepared to put the brakes on the project.
[DOUBLE BOXES=JoeD and Jean/Microwave;]
Joe Dashiell is at the old N&W passenger rail station this evening, with more on the proposal and the continuing dispute that threatens the concept.
[LIVE=Joe D FULL/Microwave]
Jean... a tribute to O. Winston Link seems like a natural for the planned renovation of the old passenger station, but making it happen is proving to be no simple negotiation.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=The most important thing]
[SUPER=01-Bill Arnold/Nat. Railway Historical Society; :34]
[OUT Q=not easy to carry out.]
(([OPENS ON LINK INTERVIEW]
[IN Q=The most important thing]
((THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO ME WAS HAVING ENGINE 1218 UNDER MY CONTROL... AND ALSO A TURNTABLE IN ORDER TO GET THE ENGINE OUT ON THE TURTABLE.))
[OUT Q=on the turntable.]
Winston Link says he's honored by the prospect of a museum devoted to his work, located in a renovated Roanoke passenger rail station.... but only if its done right. And to Link that means including the vintage Norfolk and Western steam locomotive 1218 as the centerpiece.
Link's photographs, and the lengths he went to capture them, are legendary... and the proposal to honor him is welcome news to his many admirers.
[SOT BILL ARNOLD ]
[IN Q=He always tried ]
((HE ALWAYS TRIED NOT ONLY TO PUT A LOCOMOTIVE IN IT, BUT TO PUT THE PERSONAL TOUCH OF PEOPLE IN ALL OF HIS PHOTOGRAPHS.))
[OUT Q=in all of his photographs.]
Finding room for 1218 near the passenger station, and navigating the politics of the proposal are difficult obstacles, but Link says without them he's not interested.
[IN Q=I know its a tough job]
((I KNOW IT'S A TOUGH JOB, BUT EVERYTHING IS TOUGH. IF YOU HAVE A GOOD CONCEPT, IT'S NOT EASY TO CARRY OUT.))
[OUT Q=not easy to carry out.]))
[LIVE= JoeD FULL/Microwave]
So exactly, where this project stands is unclear. While proponents of the museum say they still hope to persuade Link to take part...
[DOUBLE BOXES=Jean and JoeD/Microwave;]
Jean, they also say they can't wait forever. And will ultimately move ahead with the renovation project whether or not Winston Link is on board.
Authorities in Alleghany County are keeping an eye out for a child who was kidnapped from North Carolina last night- possibly by her father who is a registered sex offender in Virginia.
The 22-month-old baby girl disappeared from her foster home near Greensboro.
Officials believe Hailey Marissa Fuller was abducted by her mother, Alisha Hammond, and Alisha's father, Wesley.
Wesley Hammond is a registered sex offender in Virginia.
The Alleghany County sheriff says Hammond has ties to Allegheny county, so his deputies are on alert.
26 Pittslyvania County residents are under arrest tonight charged with taking part in a pyramid scheme.
Authorities say the scheme began with each participant investing 2-thousand dollars.
They expected to get rich by persuading more people to get invovled.
The Pittslyvania County Sheriff's Department expects more arrests later this week.
[IN Q=When we serve the warrants]
((MAJOR GARY GOODSON/CHIEF DEPUTY: WHEN WE SERVE THE WARRANTS ON THE INDIVIDUALS WE ARE PICKING UP MORE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION. A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE COOPERATING AND TALKING WITH US AND PROVIDING WITH US ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IN WHICH IS GOING TO CAUSE US TO DO A LITTLE BIT MORE INVESTIGATIVE WORK AND ADDITIONAL PEOPLE ARE PROBABLY GOING TO BE CHARGED.))
[SUPER=01-Maj. Gary Goodson/Pittsylvania Co. Sheriff's Dept.;]
[OUT Q=to be charged]
The Pittslyvania County Sheriff's Department and the Danville Police Department have been working together on a joint investigation.
Two weeks ago, 13 defendants in Danville pled guilty to taking part in the scheme.
A mixed day on Wall Street.
[TAKE DOW & NASDAQ PAGE]
The DOW lost 49 points.
NASDAQ gained 45.
A vote to rename Radford's main drag is creating headaches for some business owners.
City Council voted last month to rename the main thoroughfare "Main Street."
The street goes by "Norwood Street" in East Radford ... and "First Street" in West Radford.
Local business owner Linton Leary says the change will cost him money and customers.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT 34:13 - :25]
[IN Q=I just personally]
((LINTON LEARY/RADFORD BUSINESS OWNER: I JUST PERSONALLY HAVE NOT BEEN CONVINCED THAT SIMPLY CHANGING THE NAME WILL BENEFIT THE CITIZENS OF RADFORD AND IT'S CERTAINLY NOT GOING TO BENEFIT THE MERCHANTS OF RADFORD. ))
[SUPER=01-Linton Leary/Business Owner;]
[OUT Q=merchants of Radford.]
Leary's equipment and tool rental business has been on First Street for 30 years.
But he says he'd rather move it out of Radford than pay to re-letter trucks and notify thousands of customers and suppliers.
City Council members said renaming Main Street would unify the area and make the street more recognizable.
The change is set to occur in January 2002.
Bill Gates has made another big investment--this time in Roanoke County Libraries.
[SUPER=03-Roanoke Co. ]
The Gates foundation gave two awards, totaling more than 50-thousand dollars to the area libraries.
The first grant will build a regional training lab in the Vinton Branch.
Roanoke County's Library director wants to give internet access and training to people who normally wouldn't get it.
He says that public libraries are the best place for this type of learning.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=THEY'RE SO READILY ACCESSIBLE]
((THEY'RE SO READILY ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE AND THEY'RE A GREAT PLACE FOR PEOPLE TO COME AND GET THEIR FIRST INTRODUCTION TO THE INTERNET AND TO GET ASSISTANCE, GET HELP IN NAVIGATING THE INTERNET AND LEARNING HOW TO USE IT))
[SUPER=01-Spencer Watts/Roanoke Co. Library Director]
[OUT Q=HOW TO USE IT]
Construction for the lab is underway and should be finished in time for programs to start in April.
The grant also benefits the Mount Pleasant Library. It will receive over eight-thousand dollars to purchase computers and software.
Coming up in sports, get a look at Dodge's entry into NASCAR. One of Virginia Tech's best wrestlers is headed west
and the Cavaliers face another tough ACC test tonight on the court.
A preview just ahead.
[GRAPHIC=Nascar media tour]
The 2001 preseason NASCAR media tour is now well underway in the Carolinas. Tonight Mike Stevens checks in with an old friend and a brand new machine.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=first audio]
[SUPER=01-Ward Burton/Caterpillar Dodge Driver; :14]
[SUPER=03-Thomasville, NC; :22]
[OUT Q=......news 7 sports"]
Tonight at eight o'clock, the ninth ranked Virginia men's basketball team takes on Georgia Tech at University Hall in Charlottesville.
While the Yellow Jackets are just 8 and 5 on the season, they have played the Wahoos tough, especially at University Hall where they have beaten Virginia in two of the last three meetings.
Virginia comes in with an 11 and 1 record.
Virginia Tech wrestling coach Keith Mourlam announced today that Andrew Shuler, his starter in the 157 pound weight class, is transferring to the University of Wyoming at the start of the spring semester.
[SUPER=03-Vinton/1999 Season; :00]
Shuler , who was a three time state champion at Brookville, posted a 139 and 9 record in high School.
He was 1 and 5 this season for Tech and said he is leaving because he is not happy at Tech.
Coach Mourlam has been quoted on the Tech website as saying he supports Shuler.
The Hokies are a top 25 program.
The deadline for Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick to decide if he's going to the NFL next season is this Friday.
News 7 Sports was unable to reach him today.
Georgia QB Quincy Carter is entering the draft, despite a disappointing junior year and injury problems. Carter made the decision after talking with the Bulldogs new coach Mark Richt.
Clemson linebacker Keith Adams will skip his senior year according to a friend of the family. The Butkus Award finalist holds 11 school records.
[TAPE#=SP-80 tc 1:04:58]
First the New York Jets lose Al Groh to the University of Virginia.
Now Bill Parcells has resigned.
His resignation as the director of football operations is effective at the end of the month.
Parcells says he wasn't ready for the long term commitment needed to make the Jets a constant competitor.
In Detroit, Matt Millen is the Lions' new president and general manager.
The former linebacker standout with the Raiders, San Francisco and Washington is coming off a football television analyst job.
Earlier today, Chuck Schmidt resigned as Detroit's general manager.
A gay rights activist wants Lynchburg police to better trained in preventing hate crimes.
Bill Connelly says the same people who attack people based on their race, sex or religion.. which are covered by hate crime legislation.. are the ones who also would attack gay men and women.
Connelly says the FBI offers special training in hate crime awareness and prevention and he wants Lynchburg police officers to undergo that training.
He plans to bring his request before city council tonight.
We'll have more for you on this story tonight on News7 at 11.